Change Management WalkMe TeamUpdated May 28, 2023

10 Must-Know Concepts of Change Management

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10 Must-Know Concepts of Change Management

There are a few must-know concepts of change management, but what is the key concept in change management?

Understanding these foundational ideas will help you better grasp:

  • Change management terminology
  • Discussions, articles, and blogs
  • The theory and practice of change management

Among other things.

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Below, we’ll explore 10 of these essential concepts of change – starting with the most important concept of all…

1. Change Management

When it comes to organizational change, change management itself is the most essential concept to understand.

It refers to organized, structured process of enacting changes to organizations.

These can refer to:

  • Changes in the culture of a business
  • Business process changes
  • Restructuring of an organization and its people
  • Digital adoption, digital transformation, and technology implementation

There are many types of organizational change – and to be successful, such changes all require management.

Change managers – and other change professionals – are tasked with:

  • Planning
  • Strategizing
  • Organizing
  • And executing

However, another crucial attribute is necessary for successful organizational change…

2. Change Leadership

Managers organize, structure, and operate a change project.

Leaders, however, propel a change and drive it forward.

Without on-the-ground leaders, change programs are much less likely to succeed.

Change leadership is essential in order to:

  • Create a vision for change
  • Develop a change story
  • Embody and embrace change

In short, leaders lead the charge.

At the highest level, these leaders include department heads, executives, and other managers.

However, “change champions” may also be appointed throughout an organization.

These are advocates of change, who lead at a local level.

3. Enterprise Change Management

Enterprise change management refers to an organization’s change capability.

That is, it refers to how developed change management is within a company.

For instance:

  • Whether or not an organization has a business function devoted to change management
  • How sophisticated and structured that function is
  • How capable an organization is when it comes to managing, leading, and executing change projects

An enterprise’s capacity for change is often divided into tiers, or levels.

And this brings us to the next concept of change…

4. Change Maturity

Change maturity refers to the sophistication of enterprise change management.

In short, how developed is an organization’s change management function?

A simple three-tier model could be:

  • Advanced – Change management is integrated with organizational strategy. The ability to flexibly adapt to changing circumstances. Advanced implementation of data, analytics, and digital tools.
  • Intermediate – Management of multiple projects simultaneously, with some application of best practices. Some implementation of technology and data science.
  • Basic – Little or no structured change management practices. Very little, if any, application of technology, analytics, or data.

Depending on where you look, you’ll find different models of change change maturity.

5. Change Readiness

Change readiness refers to, self-evidently, how ready an organization is to change.

This is a state – some organizations are more ready, some are less ready.

And, like change maturity, it can be measured on a scale.

A few common attributes include:

  • Awareness – Awareness of circumstances, opportunities, threats, and market context
  • Agility – How agile, flexible, and responsive an organization is
  • Reaction – Speed and responsiveness to changing circumstances
  • Systems – Mechanisms that enable change capacity, as mentioned above

The higher an organization’s change readiness, the more effective its change programs and the better it can respond to market changes.

6. Change Model

A change model is a framework used to describe organizational change processes.

Change frameworks are established models that are used in change management.

These models describe organizational change from a bird’s-eye perspective.

There are several change models in use today, such as Prosci’s ADKAR model or Kotter’s 8-Step Change Model.

The Lewin change model is one of the earliest, consisting of three stages:

  • Unfreezing – The old status quo must be unraveled before any changes begin
  • Changing – This transition period is the gray zone between the previous state and the finished state, where nothing is settled
  • Freezing – After the new processes have been implemented, changes must be cemented and reinforced

A change model helps change managers define and design change project roadmaps, discussed below.

7. Change Management Strategy

Change management strategy is the high-level strategy that defines a change project’s aims, goals, and tactics.

The most effective change management strategies:

  • Are integrated with organizational strategy
  • Fully implement data, analytics, and technology
  • Are sophisticated and well-structured

A change management strategy itself can consist of other strategies, such as a communication strategy, a digital strategy, an engagement strategy, and so on.

Final Thoughts

These fundamental concepts of change can help you better understand change management.

However, learning about these ideas is just the first step.

It is a good idea to dive deeper into the topic of change management.

Also, consider studying up on subjects directly relevant to change management – such as digital adoption, digital transformation, and digital change strategy.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is change readiness?
    Change readiness refers to an organization's ability to adapt and respond to changes in its environment. This can include how aware the organization is of its circumstances, how agile and responsive it is, how quickly it can react to change, and the systems it has in place to manage change.
  • What is a change model?
    A change model is a framework used to describe the process of organizational change. It provides a bird's-eye view of how change occurs and can help managers plan and execute change projects more effectively. Examples of change models include Prosci's ADKAR model and Kotter's 8-Step Change Model.

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